"The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden"
Sociology is a new subject to students in sixth form. It shares links with English, RS and History at GCSE level. Sociology provides an excellent starting point for any social science degree from Economics, Psychology, and Politics to Criminology and Philosophy.
The Families and Households module will analyse how the family has changed and developed over time and space. You will examine the social construction of childhood, the influence of culture on family structures, changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation and divorce. You will also assess the diversity of contemporary family life.
The Education with Methods in Context module analyses the different roles and functions of the education system in the UK. You will critically examine various theoretical approaches that attempt to explain how differences in social class, gender and ethnicity influence educational attainment. You will also analyse various qualitative and quantitative sociological research methods. This will include the use of controlled experiments, questionnaires, interviews, observation and ethnographic techniques.
In the Beliefs in Society module you will explore the role and function that religion has for individuals and groups in society. You will examine the impact that religion has on organising social norms and values and assess how changes in society influence religious beliefs. This module also analyses religious ideology and the various forms that religion takes, which includes mainstream religious practices and those of sects and cults.
In the Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods module, you will assess the causes of crime and deviance in society and the different ways in which they are explained by sociologists. You will examine patterns of crime and their disparities in relation to age, social class, ethnicity, gender and the environment. The relationship between theory and sociological methods will also be explored, alongside some of the practical and ethical considerations influencing sociological research.
A level Sociology is a linear qualification, which means exams take place at the end of two years. It is assessed through examinations in which consist mostly of essay-based questions, plus several structured questions.
The three A level exams each count for a third of the final mark:
- Paper 1: a two-hour exam on Education in Society, with associated sociological theory and methods
- Paper 2: a two-hour exam on two option topics (see earlier)
- Paper 3: a two-hour exam on Crime and Deviance, with associated sociological theory and methods